Last September I went to an outdoor dog photography workshop with Elke Vogelsang.  Elke takes amazing pictures of dogs – particularly her 3 dogs Noodles, Scout and Ioli.  I enjoyed it very much so when I saw that Elke was coming back again this year to teach a course on creative dog photography, I booked a place immediately.

The course was again held at Martin and Sue’s lovely home in the Cheshire countryside.  We started the day with a teaching session where Elke reflected on her photographic journey telling us about the business model that works for her and how she uses social media.  There were examples of her photographs, her projects, a nod to other photographers that inspire her and lots of stories about her 3 dogs in between.

A lovely lunch split the day between classroom discussion and camera action.  When we emerged from the house after lunch, the dogs seemed to know it was their chance to shine.  I am still amazed at the similarities between Luca and our Stella.  Both spaniels, both ball obsessed, both tinged with just a little bit of craziness and both with no desire to be calm and settle.  I was happy to see Molly again with her wonderful ears as well as the beautifully photogenic golden retrievers Rufus, Will, Maisy and Ruby.  Cassie was no longer so much of a puppy but still full of energy and ready for cuddles.  Rolo, Cooper and Kitty were new additions to the gang.  There could not be a more appropriate name for Rolo cleverly describing the colour of her body while also being reflective of her appetite for food.  The inadvertent consumption of half a loaf of bread that morning, resulted in her sporting a rather distinctive “podge” while it got digested.   Cooper was an exceptional model considering he wasn’t even a year old and Kitty was a wire haired fox terrier with a bit of a cheeky look.

The weather was a little on the warm side so after the dogs had done their thing, we gave them a break and went and visited the ponies in an adjacent field – someone with great foresight had agreed this with the owner’s before hand.  I’ve never photographed equine subjects before so I watched these lovely creatures for a while before taking their picture.  They seemed genuinely pleased to see us generously giving out nuzzles – although I suspect the carrots we had definitely helped on that front.

I think my 3 key learning points from the day were these:

  1. Start a project.  This was a message I took away last time and then time got away and I never got around to doing it.  Must do better this time!
  2. Try something different.  It doesn’t matter if the different thing you try doesn’t work.  Just try something else! Elke had things like prisms and a magnifying glass which can be fun and give unusual shots.
  3. Write down your goals for the year.

Despite Elke’s success, she still works hard to improve her photography and attributes her success to hard work.  I was brave enough this time to take along my book (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nice-Nosing-You-Love-Photography/) and get Elke’s signature.  It was great to spend a day learning from such a lovely person and I also very much enjoyed the company of the likeminded dog and camera loving people who were on the course.

Here are a couple of my favourite shots from the day.  Can we make it an annual thing please Elke?